Eels winger Maika Sivo will miss the rest of the season with a suspected MCL injury as coach Brad Arthur also sweats on the fitness of winger Blake Ferguson for next week’s elimination final.
Sivo left the field in the 11th minute of the 36-24 qualifying final loss to the Storm at Suncorp Stadium.
Ferguson also hobbled off in the second half of the game with a knee injury.
Interchange forward Marata Niukore was also put on report for a crusher tackle on Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on a tough night for Parramatta.
The injury to Sivo is a huge blow with the 27-year-old playing all 20 round games for Parramatta this year and scoring 15 tries.
“I think Maika is done for the year and Fergo will have to have scans tomorrow. He is maybe a chance,” Arthur said.
Match Highlights: Storm v Eels
“It is a massive blow for the team but we have other blokes in the team who will have to step up.
“It is a shame for Maika because he has worked hard and it is his birthday today but that’s footy.”
The Eels led 12-nil but let the Storm back into the game. They refused to buckle but Arthur said there was plenty that could be learned from the display ahead of next week’s elimination final against either the Rabbitohs or Knights at Bankwest Stadium.
“It was tough and we showed plenty of character. It was brave and it was just dumb in key moments and critical moments,” he said.
Arthur confirms worst possible news on Sivo
“You can’t do that against the Melbourne Storm. They iced their opportunities, but we need to learn from that.
“The pleasing thing is that we didn’t go away. We kept fighting and having some blokes out of position probably hurt us a bit, but credit to them because they did the best they could.”
Arthur said his team showed they were mentally tough enough to win the competition after fighting back when the Storm got to an 18-point lead.
“We have just got to be smarter,” he said.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy said his side’s communication was off in the first half where the side dominated possession but still went into the break at 12-all.
The match opened up in the second stanza with Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cameron Smith and Cameron Munster taking control.
The Storm will now prepare to play either the Roosters or Canberra in the preliminary final in a fortnight's time.
“It was a strange sort of a game with a lot of points scored for a semi-final when both sides had been pretty good defensive teams throughout the year as well,” Bellamy said.
Electric play from Jennings and Ferguson creates a try for Gutherson
“They had a couple of disruptions with both wingers going down.
“I think it was difficult this week because a lot of them had last week off. Our training this week lacked a few things.
“We were just out of our routine so we will approach the next two weeks a bit differently.
“It is a great to have the week off and we can certainly use that because it has been a tough year.”